A quick and simple method to assess your aerobic fitness is to perform the three-minute step test using a 12-inch-high step or bench. The exercise requires climbing up with both feet unto a bench or step and stepping down for a period of time, and then taking your pulse after a minute's rest. The process takes five minutes, and it requires a 12-inch step and a partner or timer to keep time.
- Perform the three-minute step test
Perform the step exercise by going up on a 12-inch step with one foot, then the other, then stepping down. Do this at a rate of 24 steps per minute for three minutes. Have another person keep time or set a timer.
- Rest and take your pulse
After completing the exercise, sit in a chair and rest for one minute. Afterward, take your pulse rate for the following minute.
- Use a pulse-rate chart to assess your fitness
Use the pulse-rate chart published by the YMCA for the three-minute step test to evaluate your aerobic fitness. The chart provides information for males and females in six categories from ages 18 to 65 and above. The aerobic levels are divided into three categories, including "good to excellent, "average to above average" and "poor to fair."